Time Of Possession
If there is one thing the Kansas City Chiefs should have done differently in their Wild Card loss, they should have ran the ball a little bit more. They did so 16 times and they seemed to abandon it in the second half when the Titans continued to run it down the Chiefs exhausted defense. Tennessee is a run first team and they won’t go away from that when they play the New England Patriots. It is the one big advantage they have against the Patriots in that their front seven isn’t equipped to stop the likes of Derrick Henry for a full 60-minutes. This strategy also helps the Titans keep Tom Brady off the field for an extended period of time. Don’t count out Tennessee for the Divisional Round. They didn’t count themselves out when they were down 21-3 at halftime against Kansas City.
It Wasn’t That Close
Two special teams fumbles pretty much sealed the Rams fate and with the Falcons having the ball for over 37-minutes it wasn’t much of a game at that point. To the Rams credit they didn’t give up at any point, but the Falcons knew what they were doing and weren’t going to let up in their first playoff game since last years Super Bowl collapse. While the Falcons did let Todd Gurley rush for over 100 yards, he didn’t do any damage in the passing game and that was a big piece missing from the Rams offense. Atlanta didn’t have a 100-yard rusher, but they didn’t stop running the ball and had Julio Jones playing at his usual effectiveness. If the Falcons defense can continue to play like this, they could wind up back in the NFC Conference title game.
Could Have Been A Different Outcome
This matchup went how it was expected to be. A defensive game that could come down who scored the first and only touchdown. It went in Jacksonville’s favor in the second half, but Buffalo had many opportunities. Even when their starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game on the final drive to injury. Had Taylor not left, perhaps the Bills would have scored and we would have had overtime. Either way you can’t be too upset about the result. Both teams had many chances and the Jaguars need to pick it up a bit more on offense and not rely on Blake Bortles to be their leading rusher again. That shouldn’t happen anymore. The Jaguars will still rely on their vaunted defense, but they’ll need to score more than 10 points to advance.
One Stupid Decision
When New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton decided to go for it at midfield as opposed to just punting it to give Carolina a more difficult task of winning the game, I figured the Saints defense would lie down at that point. Their head coach put no faith in them by going for it and they had been playing pretty good for most of that game. It wasn’t their fault the Saints offense was being stymied by Carolina’s defense, especially on the ground. Luckily for Payton, the Saints defense managed to hold Carolina off and sack Cam Newton to end the game in their favor. I would hope that those kinds of decisions don’t happen again, especially when your defense played so well for a large part of the game.